Appropriate Behavior around Cats - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-13-2011, 09:10 PM Thread Starter
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Appropriate Behavior around Cats

Baxter, who is currently 6 months old, desperately wants to be friends with our cats. As a pup at the breeder's kennel, they were always around and he was friends with them. Then he came home with us at 8 weeks, and our cats HATED him. They still do.

For a while he would just nose at them, and occasionally bark, but would never go too close, and we would keep an eye on the behavior and redirect when it got beyond a gentle nudge.

However, now he tries to initiate play with them the same way he would with a dog - jumping, pawing, nipping, and barking. It doesn't help that they constantly taunt him from behind the pet gates, and he gets frustrated. But, at the same time, I don't want ANY of them to get hurt.

Any suggestions for what to do with this behavior? I don't think he's trying to hurt them, but I also don't think it's registering how much smaller they are than him, and that he needs to be gentle with them...
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-24-2011, 07:11 PM
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I am having the exact same problem with my 4 month old GSD - Casey. I have two cats, one wants nothing to do with her but the other teases her from sitting on high things where she can't reach or sitting just on the opposite side of the baby gates. She gets excited and barks, paws, nips, etc. Her behavior is not aggressive - sounds just like Baxter's - she wants to play.

Our vet advised us to keep her on a leash when they are in the same room with each other. The cat swats at her but he is declawed and she isn't getting the picture to leave him alone.

Anyone have any suggestions for teaching her how to ignore the cats?? They say you can't teach the cats, you can only teach the dogs.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-28-2011, 11:37 PM
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Going thru the same problem. I just started placing Sasha in "place" but tethered. If she starts to fixate on the cats I try to break her from it. I'm hoping the longer I do this the faster the cats become old n boring news to the point she won't care much for them. Any other suggestions?
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 09:51 AM
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I never kept our puppies separate from our cats but I did monitor them closely. Jax really wanted to play with Cracker and has a high prey drive so chasing was her most favorite form of play. Whenever she chased him, I would redirect her. When she was pawing at him or being rough, I would tell her Be Nice and reward her for not trying to push his head into the floor. I had it easy because Cracker does not run for the dogs so it made it less fun for Jax.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 10:25 AM
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I also never separated my puppies from the cats, but I always supervised them of course. We have a small house so we all have to learn to live with each other. Fortunately I have an 18 yr old male cat, Spitz, who has lived with 5 dogs through his life.
Swipes with the cats claws can be dangerous, but it usually only takes a swat or two for the pup to realize kitty means business. I have another cat, female 11 yrs old. She was a ferrel kitten and remained skiddish. Lakota now about 15 months will fixate on her becuase she is active and will run. All my dogs have chewed the cats heads without hurting them. Misty is less tolerant but normally runs right up to Lakota to pet herself against the pups legs. Lakota has a very high prey drive shows no aggression and I realize that accidents do happen. I would never trust the pup alone with my cats, she's confined to my kitchen when I am not home. She doen't fixate on the older cat, he doesn't run he will stand his ground with our dogs. I think it helps that he thinks hes a dog not a cat.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 10:34 AM
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Same situation here, two cats, we have the cats in the basement (where they are most of the time, box and food are there) and have been introducing our pup to them on the leash and it seems more like a playful attitude then an aggressive attitude towards them. All tho she gets to excited and the cats run and hide and the pup wants to chase even more. Our male cat was hissing and swiping at first and now has started to sniff and meow at the dog so I see progress but I think it's a long process... Our female cat with claws has not gotten too close yet (she's always been skittish around everything)

We have taken some toys of the dogs and left them downstairs to have the cats get use to her smell and the whole house probably has cats smell for the dog to sniff...

Always looking for tips and suggestions with this process...

cheers...
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 10:44 AM
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Also my trainer told me to have a ZERO tolerance for inappropriate behavior toward the cats. So when I see Lakota starting to fixate I try redirection first but sometimes its totally impossible. When she starts to chase the cat around the furnature, and she doesn't respond to voice command, I resorted to the spray bottle. I know some disagree with that practice. I call it the "anti cat spray" I only have to reach for the bottle and she stops.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2011, 11:40 PM
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Sieger was also raised with cats. I trust him...most of the time. In the house there is no trouble. My cat loved our previous dog..an old harmless basset hound. THe cat is not so sure of the GSD. She tolerates him. He will chase the cats when outdoors sometimes. I can redirect him if I can catch it fast enough. Most of the time he will walk right up to them and be fine but every now and then the chase is on. If am there he will listen and back off but they are outdoors together during the day so I think the cats stay on the other side of the fence unless I am there. Sieger is one year old now...I hope with time he will get less and less interested. I also know I could not trust him with a strange cat. He chased a strange cat one day...once it ran up the tree he finally listen to me!!!! Running back our cat was at the corner and I thought he may go after her since the chase was so fresh in his head but he ran right by sniffed at her and ran right back to me.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 12:03 AM
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Agree SiegersMom! There are Jax's cats and there are cats that are fair game in her mind. Jax's cats include Cracker (my cat) and some outside cats that straggled in from the neighborhood barns and never went away. Any cats other than those she will chase. I have no idea what she would do if she caught one but she only chases the cats that run. Any stray cat that doesn't run, she quickly loses interest in. I do feel, with her prey drive, she could have been a disaster if I didn't teach her "Nice" when it came to our cat.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-30-2011, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
Anyone have any suggestions for teaching her how to ignore the cats?? They say you can't teach the cats, you can only teach the dogs.
I've actually given the Michael Vick Cat a (gentle) poke and made her move because if she were a dog...she'd be resource guarding. (I have no idea what you'd call it for a cat) Now if she starts something with the dogs...I just say her given name in a firm voice "FRANNY" and she mellows out.

The dog will chase this cat as she is the one with the excited prey energy. I just kept with the "Leave it" and now she'll start the chase and turn away. My goal is to stop it before the chase starts...working on the timing. I will definitely not be a musician with my sense of rythym and timing.
Sometimes though the cat will lead the chase and turn around and chase the dog...weird interspecies games.

As far as when Alice was a puppy with the cat; I just supervised the MVC as I didn't want an eye put out...other than that, Alice learned pretty quick; that critter has five sets of weapons and isn't afraid to use them. Alice wasn't allowed to grab her neck and pin her down...lay on her and not let her up...when the cat says, "Knock it off" (in weird MVC cat language) that means exactly that...enough I'm done playing with you crazy landshark...leave me alone.
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